Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series launches

Shining a light on the women of Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Marking International Women’s Day 2021, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series.

Encompassing an awards programme, a forum and series of webinar sessions, the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series’ mission is to drastically improve gender equality within the GRC industries where women represent just 15-20% of the workforce.


The series is brought to you by GRC World Forums, the producers of Data Protection World Forum, PrivSec and FinCrime World Forum.

These events have a strong history of showcasing women, not just as the brightest female minds in GRC, but the brightest minds. Speakers at previous events have included:

  • Joanne Neary, assistant commissioner of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission
  • Dr Carissa Véliz, research fellow at the University of Oxford and author of Privacy is Power, an Economist ‘Book of the Year’
  • Dr Ann Cavoukian, creator of Global Privacy & Security by Design and former data protection commissioner for Canada
  • Dominique Shelton Leipzig, partner in privacy & security at Perkins Coie LLP
  • Dr Claudia Natanson, chair of trustees at UK Cyber Security Council, 
  • Jessica Figueras, trustee at UK Cyber Security Council
  • Samantha Gavel, New South Wales privacy commissioner from the Information and Privacy Commission
  • Sandy Silk, director of information security education & consulting at Harvard University
  • Esther Schagen-van Luit, chief information security officer at Deloitte, known as ‘The leading lady in cyber’
  • Lori Baker, vice president of legal & director of data protection at Dubai International Financial Authority

The Series will provide a platform to recognise, celebrate and support women in the profession and help foster the next generation of female GRC leaders.

The Series takes inspiration from International Women’s Day 2021’s key message - #ChooseToChallenge - because “from challenge comes change”. Like IWD, the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series will “celebrate women's achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality”.

The latest research by Tessian shows that while women in cybersecurity industries feel the pandemic has been positive for their careers, men aged 18-25 are still far more likely to choose it as a career option than women of the same age. The report reveals that women already within the industry believe equal pay, a gender-balanced workforce and greater emphasis on STEM subjects in schools would encourage more young women into cybersecurity.

The Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Awards will honour women demonstrating excellence across GRC and celebrate the organisations already showing leadership in gender equality in the industry. It will showcase the role models, advocates and mentors, as well as the inspirational women and organisations building and leading. The Awards will take place in September, with further information on entering and categories to be announced shortly.

Also taking place in September, the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Forum will be the go-to platform to allow collaborative engagement in an environment created specifically to support not only women in GRC, but also their peers. The Forum will bring together GRC professionals of all levels with the shared aim of creating a supportive ecosystem and championing women and equality in the workforce.

Niki Dowdall, founder of the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series, said: “Gender equality is a real problem in GRC. Forty-five per cent of the global workforce is made up of women, but that falls as low as 25% in the tech space and even further to 15-20% in governance, risk and compliance.

“That’s why it’s our mission to champion the women of the GRC industries, and create a supportive and engaged ecosystem through the Women in Governance, Risk and Compliance Series.”

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